Recently, many contractors have received a faxed letter that is part of a recurring identity theft scheme asking recipients to provide bank account information on an “Authorization to Release Financial Information” form. The letter is typically signed by someone claiming to be a “Senior Procurement Officer” at DOT and appears on U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) letterhead containing a Washington, D.C. address, but little other identifying information. Information on this recurring scam and an example of these fraudulent letters can be seen below.
THIS IS A FRAUDULENT REQUEST–DO NOT RESPOND.
Any direct communication from DOT should always be accompanied with detailed contact information. In addition, DOT procurement representatives will only request financial information in reference to specific contracts awarded. DOT does not request financial information from prospective contractors wishing to submit a bid proposal or quote.
If you have questions about a DOT request regarding procurement, please contact the Office of the Senior Procurement Executive at (202) 366–4263 or the office of procurement for any of the individual DOT operating administrations. If you would like to report a fraudulent request for information to DOT, please contact the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline here, or by calling (800) 424–9071. The OIG may also provide your information to the U.S. Secret Service office in DC.
Other versions of a similar letter have been sent out to contractors purporting to be from Equifax and other companies. These letters are also a fraudulent means to obtain financial information. For more information on the letters from Equifax please visit their website.
If you have already responded to such a request, please notify your financial institution immediately and contact the OIG Hotline. We also encourage you to contact your local law enforcement agency and your regional U.S. Secret Service office. Because these types of identity theft scams are often conducted from outside the United States of America, it may be extremely difficult to identify and prosecute the perpetrators. If you think you have been a victim of identity theft, you may want to review the Secret Service’s tips for victims of fraud.
There has been another round of fraudulent letters issued to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) contractors and potential contractors purporting to be issued by DOT. These fraudulent letters request that current or potential contractors register by submitting their company's financial information on a release form entitled, "Authorization to release financial information". Please be aware that DOT does not require any financial information to be submitted in order to be eligible for procurement.
Following is a list of fraudulent letters which have been faxed out to current or potential contractors:
December 29, 2005, signed by "Frank M. Orell"
February 8, 2006, signed by "Randy Cohen"
April 27, 2006, signed by "Dan Jacobs"
July 28, 2006, signed by "Dan Jacobs"
November 8, 2006, signed by "Lisa Johnson"
February 26, 2007, signed by "Lisa Johnson"
March 26, 2007, signed by "Jason Scarlett"
May 10, 2007, signed by "Jason Scarlett"
July 11, 12, and 20, 2007, signed by "George Mason"
August 27 and 28, 2007, signed by "Julie P. Wenzel"
September 10, 2007, signed by "Julie P. Wenzel"
October 12, 2007, signed by "Julie P. Wenzel"
October 21, 2007, signed by "Julie P. Wenzel"
January 28, 2008, signed by "Julie P. Weynel"
February 7, March 3, March 31, 2008, signed by "Bradley K. Wash"
April 1, 2008, signed by "Bradley K. Wash"
April 28, 2008, signed by "Bradley K. Wash"
June 3, 2008, signed by "Robert Dal"
June 4, 2008, signed by "James Buchanan"
September 5, 2008, signed by "David Jacobson"
October 20, 2008, signed by "Jennifer Donaldson"
December 8, 2008, signed by "Jennifer Stewart"
December 19, 2008, signed by "Jeffrey Steinberg"
January 27, 2009, signed by "John Steinberg"
February 17, 2009, signed by "Joshua Greenberg"
April 1, 2009, signed by "Jason Wallace"
- April 19, 2010, signed by "Julie P. Weynol"
- June 7, 2010, signed by "Julie P. Weynel"
January 19, 2011, signed by "Julie P. Wenzel"
All letters were signed as the Senior Procurement Officer.
Please DO NOT complete the release form which is attached to the letter and DO NOT release any information to the facsimile number cited in the letter. Click here for an example of these letters being sent out to contracting personnel.
The point of contact concerning these fraudulent letters is the Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General Hotline at 1-800-424-9071.